On the morning of Jan. 3, authorities responded to a fire at Congregation K'Hal Adath Jeshuran in Paramus, when members smelled gas in the building and contacted authorities. Fire and police officials determined an accelerant had been used in the rear of the building to start a fire. The fire had quickly burned itself out, and no injuries were reported.
In the early morning of Jan. 11, police said Molotov cocktails were thrown at Congregation Beth El in Rutherford, igniting a fire in the second-floor bedroom of Rabbi Nosson Schuman's residence. The rabbi, his wife, five children and his parents were sleeping at the time. - Samantha Henry, AP
|Anthony Graziano, 19, Lodi, NJ|
Bergen County Prosecutor's Office / AP Photo
Graziano was arrested this week and entered a not guilty plea at his arraignment on nine counts of attempted murder, bias intimidation and arson charges for a Jan. 11 attack on a Rutherford synagogue and a Jan. 3 firebombing of a Paramus synagogue. If convicted on all charges, he could face at least 95 years in prison.
Assuming Graziano is guilty as charged, one need look no further than his obvious depraved hatred and bigotry for an explanation for his crimes.
I am troubled by the reference to Graziano as a teenager in every media report I have read or heard about his alleged crimes. Typically, once criminal suspects over eighteen are identified, they are referred to as adults, not teenagers. By referring to Graziano as a teenager, he is granted an excuse.
"Oh, that Anthony, what a knucklehead! But you know how those teenagers can be."
An act of vandalism committed by a thirteen year-old is a completely different thing than firebombing a family of five in an attempt to burn them to death, but by referring to Graziano as a teenager, the implication is that he is just a kid, and well, you know, kids will be kids.
I know that in the America of 2012, the government has conditioned us to believe that "children" as old as twenty-six should still be covered by mom and dad's health insurance, but in the world of reality, by the time you reach nineteen, you've got to step up and shed the protective "teenager" shroud.
At nineteen, a person is able to join the military and vote for the people who put the military in harm's way. A nineteen year-old can sign contracts, own a home and do other things the rest of us adults can do (except drink legally -- but that's the product of knee-jerk governance rather than any form of common-sense).
So how is it a nineteen year-old is able to be an adult in the legal world, but is referred to as a teenager when charged with attempted murder?
Information for this column was gathered from multiple sources, including the Associated Press.